The trip to and from school is an important part of the day for children and youth. It can be a chance to be outside, to spend time with parents or caregivers and friends, and eventually to develop a sense of independence. Active modes of transportation – walking, biking, scootering and more – confer the most benefits. But since 1985, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the number of students being driven to school has doubled to over 30%, while the number traveling by active modes has fallen to under 40%.
CultureLink has become involved in the growing movement to reverse this worrying trend, through our award-winning cycling program developed with Cycle Toronto. We work directly with students, teachers and parents to nurture a bike culture in schools across our city.
- Successfully advocating with the Toronto District School Board to adopt the TDSB Charter for Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation and to declare their first-ever Bike to School Day in May 2014;
- Building on that success, collaborating with school boards, public health offices, regions and municipalities across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to establish a region-wide Bike to School Week which involved over 20,000 students in 2016 and 2017 supporting teachers and students to establish bike clubs and campaigns at secondary schools; and
- Reaching over 21,000 Toronto students with cycling education and promotion programs since April 2016!
Getting in touch
Any TDSB teacher may request a free cycling education program provided by our staff at their school, via the TDSB EcoSchools Program. The application process for spring 2018 will be open in fall 2017.
Toronto teachers or students in secondary school, who are interested in starting a school bike club or other bike-related program, may contact Chantelle Campbell-Sholzberg at ccampbell @ culturelink.ca or 416-588-6288 x203.
For other inquiries or new partnership ideas, please contact Kristin Schwartz at kschwartz @ culturelink.ca or 416-588-6288 x229.
Project history and recognition
Since 2008, CultureLink has been involved in a partnership with Cycle Toronto, to encourage newcomers to cycle in and around Toronto because cycling is affordable, healthy, and convenient. More and more people are choosing to travel/commute by bicycle every year. Many newcomers are coming from countries where cycling is even more established as a mode of transportation, and we have encouraged newcomers to retain and share that habit in Toronto. Our innovative partnership has been recognized with five awards: including the 2010 Excellence in Sustainable Transportation award from the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association, the Alliance for Biking and Walking 2010 Advocacy Innovation of the Year Award and the 2016 Wheels of Change Advocacy Award from Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
The Bike to School Project – a collaboration between CultureLink, Cycle Toronto and the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank – acknowledges the support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Toronto District School Board and Smart Commute, a program of Metrolinx. Past funders have included the Toronto Foundation, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Cycling Training Fund, and the Toronto Bicycling Network.